AstroPrint Tip 1 (of 5): Fuel Up! Getting Started with 3D Designs

This is part of our Getting Started series that our space monkeys email to new users.

Hi AstroPrint-er,

As a reminder, this is tip #1 of a series of 5 getting started tips you’ll receive over the next 2 weeks. Please reply to this email to let us know what you think of AstroPrint and these tips. Enjoy!

Tip 1 (of 5): Fuel Up! To get started on your 3D printing journey, you’ll need some 3D designs in your AstroPrint.com account. Here are a few ways to get started:

  • Search for designs in AstroPrint Apps.
    • You can find about anything you could ever want to print via our AstroApps. Search for designs on apps like Thingiverse and Yeggi, or make your own with simple CAD tools like 3D Slash.  Try a 3D Printing App Now
  • Import from AstroPrint enabled websites.
    • Import or print straight from websites like WaterTight, 3DaGoGo, and more.
    • Check out this video of using AstroPrint to print directly from the NIH website!
  • Upload your own.
    • No explanation necessary (hopefully). Just upload your 3D model and start printing. 🙂

Keep your eyes peeled for our next tip which covers how to prepare your 3D design for printing.

Hugs,

The AstroPrint Team

 

Other tips you’ll be receiving soon:

Tip 1: Fuel Up! – Getting Started with 3D Designs

Tip 2: Prepare to Launch – Slicing and Advanced Settings

Tip 3: Take Off – All the ways to print with AstroPrint

Tip 4: The Space Station – All about 3D Printing Apps

Tip 5: To Infinity and Beyond – Wireless 3D Printing

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AstroPrint Tip 2 (of 5): Preparing to Launch – Slicing and Advanced Settings in AstroPrint

This is part of our Getting Started series that our space monkeys email to new users.

Hi AstroPrint-er,

This is tip #2 in a series of 5 tips designed to make 3D printing easy and fun.

Tip 2 (of 5): Preparing to Launch – Before you can 3D print the designs in your AstroPrint account, you need to prepare them for printing. This process is often called slicing. A slicing program takes a 3D design and breaks it down into numerous layers (slices) in the same way that an MRI does. It then figures out the instructions your printer needs to build each layer.

That may sound complicated, but we have a team of space monkeys that will do it for you. To put them to work, simply:

  • Login to your account
  • Select a 3D design in your file manager and click “make print file.”
  • Select your printer, material, and print quality, then hit the Slice button.
  • You’re done! The space monkeys love slicing files (and bananas) and will get on it immediately.

Try It Out, Slice a Model Now

For beginners, that’s all you need to know about slicing. You can now 3D print your file wirelessly with AstroPrint, or download it to an SD card to print the old fashioned way. (See Tip 3 for more details)

Our Space Monkeys have a lot of other skillz advanced users will likely appreciate. They:

  • Keep both Slic3r and Cura Engine updated to the latest stable release. This lets you use either one, whenever you wish, with no need to upgrade/update a slicer, ever.
  • Optimize slicer settings by manufacturer recommendations.
  • Work with any advanced slicer setting you wish. Simply click “Advanced Settings” on the slicing screen to send them custom Cura/Slic3r settings.

Keep your eyes peeled for Tip 3, coming in a few days!

Your #1 fan,

The AstroPrint Team

 

Tip 1: Fuel Up! – Getting Started with 3D Designs

Tip 2: Prepare to Launch – Slicing and Advanced Settings

Tip 3: Take Off – All the ways to print with AstroPrint

Tip 4: The Space Station – All about 3D Printing Apps

Tip 5: To Infinity and Beyond – Wireless 3D Printing

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AstroPrint Tip 3 (of 5): Take Off! All the Ways to Print with AstroPrint

This is part of our Getting Started series that we email to new users.

Hi AstroPrint-er,

This is tip #3 in a series of 5 tips designed to make 3D printing easy and fun.

Tip #3 (of 5): Take Off – All the ways to print with AstroPrint

So, you found a cool 3D design, our space monkeys prepared it for printing, and now you want to print it, right? You’re in luck, there are 3 different ways you can make this happen.

  • Print wirelessly on your AstroPrint enabled 3D printer.
    • Simply hit “print now” beside the print file (in your File Manager) and you will see a list of the AstroPrint enabled 3D printers you are logged into.
    • If your 3D printer is not AstroPrint enabled, you’ll need an AstroBox to upgrade it.  We’ll cover that in Tip 5, but here’s a quick video about it.
  • Download the print file to your computer.
    • This file is a .GCODE (or .x3g) and can be printed through nearly any 3D printing software program, or loaded onto an SD card and printed manually.
  • Have Space Monkeys print the file and mail it to you.
    • They’ll even print in exotic materials such as porcelain, stainless steel, or gold plating!  Ok, you caught me…  Space Monkeys don’t really print your design…  They actually send your design to our partner i.materialise for printing.  Here’s a video of how they do it.

Thanks for reading tip #3!  #4 will be here soon, try and keep your excitement contained, if possible!

Viva La Revolución,

The AstroPrint Team

 

Other tips in this series:

Tip 1: Fuel Up! – Getting Started with 3D Designs

Tip 2: Prepare to Launch – Slicing and Advanced Settings

Tip 3: Take Off – All the ways to print with AstroPrint

Tip 4: The Space Station – All about 3D Printing Apps

Tip 5: To Infinity and Beyond – Wireless 3D Printing

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AstroPrint Tip 4 (of 5): The Space Station – All About 3D Printing Apps

This is part of our Getting Started series that our space monkeys email to new users.

Hi AstroPrint-ers,

This is tip #4 in a series of 5 Getting Started tips designed to make 3D printing easy and fun.

Welcome to the AstroPrint Space Station (aka the AstroPrint App store). This is where developers, designers, and sometimes aliens, all come together to offer you amazing apps for your 3D printer.

Here are the most common types of apps you are likely to encounter:

  • 3D Design Marketplaces – may offer literally millions of 3D models that you can print with a single click. Some examples include Thingiverse and CGTrader.
  • CAD tools – (computer assisted design) that let users create and modify designs before printing, all from the comfort of their AstroPrint cockpit. No need to download and learn complicated programs. A great place to start is 3D Slash, a Minecraft style CAD tool that lets anyone design and print, regardless of technical skill.
  • 3D Printing Utilities – that simply make your 3D printer more awesome. App examples include Remote Printer Monitoring, Advanced File Repair (powered by Materialise), and engineering grade structural analysis of designs.

The AstroPrint app store is powered by amazing developers and designers that are creating the next generation of 3D printing tools, games, utilities, and more. Just like the early days of the Smartphone App stores, no one knows what magical applications these developers will think of next. Keep checking in to see what they dream up!

Check Out Some 3D Printing Apps Here

See you at the Space Station! Over and out,

The AstroPrint Team

 

Other tips in this series:

Tip 1: Fuel Up! – Getting Started with 3D Designs

Tip 2: Prepare to Launch – Slicing and Advanced Settings

Tip 3: Take Off – All the ways to print with AstroPrint

Tip 4: The Space Station – All about 3D Printing Apps

Tip 5: To Infinity and Beyond – Wireless 3D Printing

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AstroPrint Tip 5 (of 5): To Infinity and Beyond – Wireless 3D Printing

This is part of our Getting Started series that our space monkeys email to new users.

Greetings AstroPrint-er,

This is the final tip in your Getting Started series for AstroPrint. Don’t be sad the tips are ending, be happy you are now a 3D printing expert! 😉

Tip 5:  To Infinity and Beyond!  Now that you’re hooked on 3D printing, let’s make you a 3D printing rockstar! It’s time to start 3D printing with your phone, tablet, or remote computer.

To print wirelessly, your 3D printer will need to be cloud enabled. Luckily to enable most 3D printers you simply need to plug an AstroBox into it. There are two ways you can get an AstroBox:

  • Pick one up online, here.
  • Make one yourself out of a Raspberry Pi. The AstroBox software for the RPi is totally free, but you’ll have to buy a few pieces of hardware. This is just for techies, and instructions can be found here.

Setup of the AstroBox is incredibly simple, check out this video to see how its done.

Learn More About the AstroBox

What can you do with a wireless enabled 3D printer, you ask?

  • Start and stop prints from any web enabled device (phone, tablet, remote computer).
  • Remote Monitoring of prints (requires a web camera).
  • Share timelapses of your prints to FB and YouTube.
  • Ability to start prints directly from the internet, and certain websites.
  • And much more.

Thanks for following our Getting Started tips! Please let us know if you found these tips helpful, awesome, boring, and/or terrible! Simply reply to this email to let us know.  :–)

We’ll see you on the AstroPrint Mothership!

The AstroPrint Team

 

Other tips in this series:

Tip 1: Fuel Up! – Getting Started with 3D Designs

Tip 2: Prepare to Launch – Slicing and Advanced Settings

Tip 3: Take Off – All the ways to print with AstroPrint

Tip 4: The Space Station – All about 3D Printing Apps

Tip 5: To Infinity and Beyond – Wireless 3D Printing

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AstroPrint or OctoPrint? OctoPrint alternatives

Choosing Which 3D Printing Software to Use: OctoPrint or AstroPrint?

Introduction

All 3D printers need host software to function. Host software is responsible for sending the actual commands to the 3D printer that tell the printer how to build an object. Most host software communicates with the printer via a wired USB connection. For most 3D printers, a computer running the host software must stay connected to the 3D printer at all times during use.

An increasing number of 3D printer operators are looking for ways to use their 3D printers remotely. Wireless 3D printing has a number of advantages over the traditional wired setup:

  • The 3D printer can be placed away from the operator’s work area, which reduces disruptive noises and smells generated by all 3D printers.
  • Reducing the number of cords provides a cleaner setup.
  • The 3D printer can be operated and monitored with a phone or tablet that is not normally capable of running host software.
  • Sharing a 3D printer is easier as it does not require sharing the connected computer.
  • The 3D printer can be operated from anywhere in the world over the internet.

 

(more…)

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The Ultimate 3D Printing Cheat Sheet

People love buffets.

Buffets allow the indecisive to skip and hop around without guilt or committing to just one boring dish.

A quick taste here, a sample there.

It’s a fun time.

Well, ladies and gentlemen, I have compiled such a buffet just for you.

It is a very special kind of buffet, in that, it contains all of the 3D Printing resources you would ever need.

A magnum opus, an ultimate (and evolving) index of everything 3D Printing — hand curated, JUST FOR YOU.

In layman’s terms: It is the Ultimate 3D Printing Cheat Sheet – one you can re-visit over and over again to find exactly what you need.
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AstroPrint Feature: Project Folders

New Feature: Organize your designs with Projects

Why Project Folders?

By popular demand, you now have the ability to neatly organize all of your designs and print files directly inside the File Manager. The need for this feature came out of our users voicing their frustrations on our forums about the difficulty of organizing files within the AstroPrint File Manager.

Our solution is quite simple: Project Folders.

File organization has always been a fundamental necessity in the history of computing, and 3D Printing is no exception.

Being one of the most popular cloud platforms for 3D Printing, organizing design files on AstroPrint is an absolute necessity.

Now, keep in mind that this is only the first version. Meaning, it’s not perfect.

We will be improving this feature in future iterations based on your feedback.

As always, if you have any suggestions on improving the workflow and making this feature more intuitive, please let us know via our forums or on twitter.

This feature is likely going to evolve into one of the most used features of the AstroPrint File Manager.

Enough chitter chatter, so how the heck do you actually use Project Folders?

It’s quite simple. Let me show you how.


Creating a new Project

  • First, you want to fire up the File Manager.

 

Astroprint File Manager

 

  • There are two main ways to create a new Project. You can either click the button located on the upper right-hand corner of your screen (next to the Upload button) OR you can simply click the New Project button.

 

  • Note: Keep in mind that the New Project button only shows up when you have 0 projects. After you have created a Project, you’ll have to use the smaller button on the top right-hand corner to create additional Projects. 

 

Create new project on Astroprint

 

 

  • Once you have clicked either button to create a new project, simply assign a name for your new project. Don’t worry, you can rename this later if you change your mind.

 

Create new project with AstroPrint

 

  • Once you create your project(s), you’ll see them ABOVE the rest of your designs in the File Manager in a dedicated section called My Projects. In this section, you can also rename or delete your projects.

 

Organizing files on astroprint

 


Moving designs from File Manager to Projects

 

  • You also have the option of moving existing files from the File Manager to an existing Project Folder. This should be a convenient way to move specific designs into your Project Folder for better organization.

 

Organizing files on Astroprint


 Moving designs from Projects to File Manager

  • If you’d like to move a design from one of your Project Folders to the File Manager, simply click the circle with the 3 red dots to bring up the context menu, then choose “Remove from Project“. This will remove the file from a Project and place it back in the File Manager.

 

Removing designs on Astroprint Project folders


Deleting Projects

 

Delete project folders in AstroPrint

 

  • Warning: If you remove/delete a Project Folder containing design files, you will lose everything. Just in case you accidentally pressed “Delete” on a Project folder, you’ll be asked for confirmation, however.

 

How to delete projects on AstroPrint

That’s it!

You have just become a much more organized human being 🙂

If you have any suggestions on improving the workflow of this feature, please let us know via our forums or twitter. As always, we make a concerted effort to incorporate your feedback into future iteration(s) of AstroPrint.

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Live Video Streaming on Astroprint

Live video streaming is now available on Astroprint!

Our latest release, v0.9(0) is finally out!

The major highlights in this release: Raspberry Pi 3 support (read more about this) & Live Video Streaming.

Live Video Streaming is arguably one of the most requested features from our users and we are happy to announce that you now have the ability to watch a live video stream of your 3D Printer from anywhere around the world! This means that you can monitor your prints in real time in full screen and in high definition straight from your AstroPrint dashboard.

(more…)

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Astroprint & Raspberry Pi 3

AstroPrint & Raspberry Pi 3 Support

If you are looking for instructions on How to build your own Astrobox with a Raspberry Pi 3, follow this guide.

AstroPrint currently supports Raspberry Pi 3, but there ARE some caveats, namely: You will need an additional WiFi dongle along with the Raspberry Pi 3’s built-in WiFi.

Why exactly do I need another WiFi dongle when the Raspberry Pi 3 has built in WiFi?

The built-in WiFi on the Raspberry Pi 3 cannot maintain a simultaneous network connection to your WiFi network and broadcast it’s own hotspot like we require on our Astroboxes — therefore, the built in Raspberry Pi 3 WiFi is not sufficient for our purposes at this time.

In order to circumvent this, you will need an additional WiFi dongle to make an Astrobox  using a Raspberry Pi 3 board.

With that said, the built in Raspberry Pi 3 WiFi is still used — the need for the additional WiFi dongle is mainly to support hotspot functionality.

Note: If you don’t need hotspot functionality, it is possible to use a Raspberry Pi 3 without a WiFi dongle – You’ll need to be aware of the Astrobox’s IP address while you set it up for the first time using ethernet though.

If you have any questions or suggestions about any of the above, join us on our forums.

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